Monday, October 26, 2015

A Few House Photos

Rather too many photos and not good quality--I made several attempts to photograph rooms hoping for a truer representation of colors. 
Use your imagination!

The small guest room with a double bed. 
The comforter is one I made in Wyoming of a heavy cotton--ecru background with line 'drawings' of pansies in a pale slatey blue.
The little quilt at the foot of the bed is also one of the first pieced during a long Wyoming winter.
I used the same paint in all three rooms on the north side of the hall.
It is a warm sandy neutral called 'Speckled Eggs.'

Walls look un-naturally grey in this photo.
The curtains are a Waverly toile in a plum/crimson on off white.
The framed photo has a plum mat--gift of a friend who has learned wonderful camera skills.

We discovered this vintage washstand with its new plum paint and delicate folk-art flowers at Peddlers' Mall.
I knew instantly it would be perfect in this room.

It was days after bringing the washstand home that it 'clicked' in my mind that the curtain fabric--purchased from ebay for the Bedford stone house--would be a match for the stand and that the framed iris photo would compliment both.
Such moments are very satisfying.

This room is also painted in 'Speckled Eggs'--and also appears a cloudy grey in the photo.
This chest of drawers is one I bought months before our marriage--that expanse of time alone qualifies it as vintage.
It was covered in layers of gooey varnish. 
I worked at it now and then over the years before  a Vermont neighbor used some heavy duty stripper on it.
This spring Jim hauled it out to the shop for me and I began the process of  fine sanding.
I had notions of painting it, but Jim admired the grain of the wood and applied a clear finish--when I wasn't looking.

This quilt stand was a $9 find at Peddlers' Mall.
It was painted a cold pale grey.
I sanded down the old finish and repainted it with  satin black.
[I am liking this satin black called 'Cannonball.']

This small quilt was purchased for me at the estate sale of an elderly Vermont friend.
The original piece was in fragile condition as the sashing between the blocks was threadbare.
I picked out the stitching and freed the blocks when I was recovering from an illness in 2004, found a blue printed calico that suited the mostly blue shirtings used to make the 4 patch blocks and reset them.  As the original quilt was tied, I used that approach to finish it.
I was nearly done when I noticed the faded ink signature on one block.
My friend, Esther Jane Lewis, noted that she had pieced the quilt in her 9th year--about 1916.
Several of the blocks have tiny tears, so I consider the quilt for display only.

This chest of drawers was purchased during our first year in Wyoming but not painted until about 2009.  I am disturbed that the dresser isn't centered under the flower prints--I think I moved it to this spot after Jim hung the pictures.

Another consignment shop find. The small table spent several years on our covered porch at the yellow house.
It required only minimal sanding to smooth the way for black satin paint, which I am 
finding very versatile.

Jim has made several towel racks from the distinctive vine-wrapped saplings he has collected on walks up the ridge.
They are now installed in the master bath.

Downstairs guest room.
The furniture belongs to our son.

Edward posing in a vintage wooden bowl which Jim recently repaired.
This photo gives the truest sense of the paint colors I chose for the living area and front and back halls.

Living area--the curtain fabric is not that green!  Without sunlight shining through, the fabric is a 'string' color, but with golden olive undertones.
I am very pleased with the paints I chose to compliment the fabric--a great find [$3 per yd!] at a fabric shop in Tennessee which our niece there favors for decorating projects.
I sifted through countless paint sample chips before deciding on the colors: 'Shoelace' for the lower walls and 'Pale Narcissus" for the upper.

This old treadle sewing machine base was shoved into a dark cubby hole beneath the stairs in the lower farmhouse.  I dragged it into the light and convinced Jim it could be converted to a
neat side table.
I've noticed in country decorating magazines that these have been unearthed and refinished almost to the point of becoming a cliche. 
One winter afternoon while Jim was installing electric in our house, I removed the battered top and the drawers, cleaned off the flaking finish with a wire brush.
The table top is a pre-cut piece from Lowes.
Jim sprayed the base in satin black and finished the top with clear poly.
Unlike others I have seen, he added a neat trim beneath the table top.

Curtains appearing much too green, but you can see something of the room's layout.

My reproduction maps fit on the wall over Jim's TV.
Susan folded my little quilt [hand-quilted very laboriously while Jim worked on the house] over the back of a rocking chair which our son moved across the country and then abandoned.

Again color is distorted--the red of the accent wall is a deeper more mellow shade.
The hutch on the right needs to be refinished to match the apple green one which I refinished in the summer of 2014. 
The open door leads into the sunroom. 
Both of our desks reside in the back hall to the left of the door.
The hall wraps around a central staircase.

The weighty bookcase [I suspect it was once considered a dining room piece]
is in the sunroom.

Lined valences I made to top the plain cream cotton curtains in master bedroom.
I found that fabric remnant at least a decade ago--knew it would come in useful!

Paint in the master bedroom and adjoining bath and 'dressing room' is 'Mystic Mocha.'
Jim, who has been heroically busy in renovating the two houses, balked at the time needed to put up wall hangings and pictures.
I had framed pictures unpacked and laid out on the beds in the guest rooms and pointed out that they couldn't remain there.
Susan, who arrived several days prior to the family reunion, quietly inquired where I wanted such to hang, then shooed me off to the kitchen while she coaxed her uncle to undertake the task.
A bit of feminine wiles were employed, "Uncle Jimmy, I don't mind putting those up, but I know you'd be upset if I accidentally bashed holes in your walls!"
The strategy worked!

My great-grandparents' marriage certificate hangs beside my dresser.
Not shown are the framed blocks salvaged from a quilt made by my g-grandmother--those are on the wall opposite the bed.

There are still projects to complete:
the pantry shelves were crudely done and need an over-haul;
the double upstairs hall and stairwell are a nightmare of sloppily done drywall--it will be a messy undertaking.
The tiny Amish closets need decent shelving.
My sewing room hasn't been wired, nor has the area beyond the bath which we call the dressing room.  That space will also have linen storage when finished.
Jim continues to work at the renovation of the large lower farmhouse.
I don't see either of us sliding into idle 'retirement' for quite some time!


  1. Oh it's LOVELY Sharon. You've definitely put your stamp on it now and much as I love blue as a colour, I am so glad you have gotten rid of the blue-right-through Amish look! Lovely serene peaceful colours, lovely pieces of furniture and wonderful little feminine touches with the quilts (they are SO good for decorating a room and adding softness and design. I love that floral applique wallhanging too. The towel racks of Jim's are stunning and I wish I could find some ivy-clad sticks here but no chance.

    That treadle sewing machine base makes a great table and I love the roping bronze statue on it. My favourite thing is that beautiful painted vintage washstand though. That is STUNNING.

    Tell Edward he is beautiful and bowls are made for pusscats!

    1. Jennie; You have been privy to my groanings as I helped to create the change-over in this house. We've done it within a quite limited budget which had to stretch over two houses. A nice thing about my chosen colorways is that most any item of refinished furniture or quits and curtains can be shifted to another room and blend well.
      The wallhanging above the bed only looks like applique--I bought the floral panels in 1978 in Massaschusetts--used the 'attic window' setting to join them and had the piece quilted at the shop in Wyoming where I worked.
      I think it is honeysuckle which clambers up saplings here--and rambles along fences--very invasive. I'm glad Jim found a crafty use for it.

  2. Replies
    1. Marion; I well understand the work that you and Mike have done in restoring the old Downey farmhouse into a home worthy of its stunning hill-top location.
      When our upstairs hall is finished it will become a 'gallery' area and you will see some of the pieces you machine quilted for me on display there.

  3. Thank you for sharing your lovely new/old home and the stories that go with pieces. You've done a lot of work in a short period of time and once again, you've inspired me.

    Thank you dear Sharon ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I can't say it often enough--although you work in different crafting mediums than I do, your creativity inspires me.

  4. Looking cozy! Thank you for the tour! Lots of sweet memories and hard work went into decorating your home. You two should be proud of all you have accomplished. BTW,I understand your frustration at the pictures not coming out true to life. One of my biggest frustrations with blogging.


    1. Jane; We can only imagine the sophisticated camera equipment that is used to 'shoot' the spreads in magazines!
      Our house is truly a work of frugal creativity and hard work--time now to enjoy the results.

  5. What a treat to see inside your lovely home, it looks very cosy. I was so happy to see your beautiful quilts,especially the "cousin" to the one I am making here in England. You have both worked so hard, your home must be a constant source of comfort and pleasure to you both.

    1. Kath; The 'cousin' to your Sawtooth Star quilt is one of my favorites--so many richly colored fabrics. I'm anxious to see yours when it is finished. I am almost surprised at this point to walk through a room and realize it is 'finished!'

  6. What a wonderful job you both have done, you're right I don't see you either sliding into retirement. Love your color choices. What are you going to do with the other small house?

    1. Janet; I count you and mac among those who are spending retirement very busily and creatively.
      The stone house finally sold in early September. We never fully unpacked and moved in there. It became a place to eat, sleep and do laundry for the four months before we moved to the Amish farmhouse.